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Painting the Fleet: Interwar Battleship and Cruiser Aviation

Painting the Fleet: Interwar Battleship and Cruiser Aviation Book Review

By David L. Veres

Date of Review August 2023 Title Painting the Fleet: Interwar Battleship and Cruiser Aviation
Author Dana Bell Publisher Rivet Counter Guides Publications
Published 2023 ISBN 979-8218121570
Format 72 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $29.95 (plus shipping)


Leveraging rare, archival sources, historian Dana Bell tackles a colorful, but oft-neglected topic in Painting the Fleet: Interwar Battleship and Cruiser Aviation – second in the author’s growing “Rivet Counter Guide” range, available from Amazon and eBay.

Aircraft modelers – especially US Navy “Golden Age” markings mavens – will love it. Contents span 25 lavishly illustrated sections across 72 pithy pages:

  • Experiments
  • Launch and recovery
  • Basic colors
  • SOC wings
  • Basic markings
  • Serials & Unit markings
  • Flagplanes
  • Asiatic Fleet
  • Battleship aircraft colors
  • BatDiv One
  • BatDiv Two
  • BatDiv Three
  • BatDiv Four
  • BatDiv Five & Six
  • Cruiser aircraft colors
  • CruDiv Two
  • CruDiv Three
  • CruDiv Four
  • CruDiv Five
  • CruDiv Six
  • CruDiv Seven
  • CruDiv Eight
  • CruDiv Nine
  • Tail Colors
  • Squadron insignia

The breadth and depth of detail proved outstanding – hence, understandably, the series name. Every page authoritatively illumines the markings of USN shipborne, chiefly catapult-launched aircraft, including experimental liveries.

Revelations certainly abound. Did you know that interbellum wing chevrons on USN battleship and cruiser aircraft officially sported different widths? I didn’t, either.

Period B&W and color photos season the superb study. And color plates by author Bell and Tom Tullis include profiles, plan views, unit badges, inset details, markings variations, and more.

Finally, a separate insert contains a glossary that appears applicable to more USN “Rivet Counter” titles. Let’s hope I’m right.

Grab this page-turner. It belongs in every “Golden Age” USN library.

Robustly recommended!

My thanks to Dana Bell for the review copy!